Obama directs military to plan ‘responsible’ Iraq drawdown

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama directed key defense and military officials he met with Jan. 21 to come up with plans for “a responsible military drawdown in Iraq.”

 President Obama declared Jan. 21’s meeting on Iraq productive and valuable.
 Participants in the late-afternoon session during his first day in office included Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command.

 Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, also participated by teleconference.

 U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, key Cabinet members and senior national security officials also were included, collectively providing what President Obama called “a full update on the situation in Iraq.”

“The meeting was productive, and I very much appreciated receiving assessments from these experienced and dedicated individuals,” the president said in a statement released after the session.

“During the discussion, I asked the military leadership to engage in additional planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq,” he said.
President Obama said he plans to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Middle East.

“In the coming days and weeks, I will also visit the (Defense Department) to consult with the Joint Chiefs on these issues, and we will undertake a full review of the situation in Afghanistan in order to develop a comprehensive policy for the entire region,” he said.